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Saving the euro: Tall ambition, flawed foundations
Date 12/10/2010 13:36  Author webmaster  Hits 2742  Language Global
12 OCT 2010

By Tony Barber | Comment | Financial Times

In Europe’s capitals they still talk of the evening when George Papandreou, Greek prime minister, confessed to his fellow leaders that his nation was corrupt. “He was very impressive and very honest. He basically said: ‘My country is a corrupt country from A to Z,’” recalls one European Union policymaker present at the dinner in Brussels on December 10 2009 where Mr Papandreou bared Athens’ economic soul.

His admissions at the start of an EU summit were an essential step in the process by which his nation’s partners – persuaded that the prime minister was sincere about his determination to introduce fundamental reforms – came to announce in May a €110bn rescue of the eurozone’s most financially rotten state. Yet contrary to the impression they gave at the time, EU policymakers had known months before he took office in October 2009 that Greek public finances were in the direst of straits.

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